Have you ever had a gorgeously simple concept suddenly crystallize in your head?  And then, instead of letting the organic beauty of it wash over you, you try to gussy it up with fancy words or hollow emotions?

Yup.  Me too.

My thought was about leaves.  Fig leaves, actually.  You know, as in the fig leaves that Adam used to cover himself after his fall from grace?  Crazy isn’t it?

About as nutso as poor Adam, bare as an egg all his life, suddenly trying to cover up his lost innocence with the glory of a tree.  I mean, if trees have glory like humans do, surely it’s their foliage right?

Imagine how the leaves, once vibrant with life, were carelessly torn from their source and the creation is suddenly forced by Adam’s hand to be party to his sin.  Feel Adam’s distress as he clutches the leaves and the strange, savage feeling of his heart racing out of control while wave after wave of shame and realization rush over him.

The Voice that once was like music filling his entire being with joy, now instilled nothing but jagged, searing terror.  His breath gasping, he desperately tries to hide the source of his shame.  The Presence fills his senses and instead of leaping and dancing and laughing and singing and fellowship, there is the buckling of knees, the bowing of the head, the horrid rending sound of separation.  His eyes see differently now and the Glory that he once gazed upon in boldness and love, now pierces and blinds.

“Where are you?” Trembling finger raised, the blame thrown…the crown of regret and the mantle of death settle their crushing weight on his shoulders.  The pain of it must have been crippling.  Although I would like to believe (as would most of us I suspect) that I would have behaved differently…I know I would not.

I know because I do the same thing today.

Cowering, trembling before the Voice that calls me to fellowship, I grab a leaf.  “Oh, Father, I can’t.  You remember I’m afraid of intimacy because of how I was raised.”

The Presence compels me to sing and to dance in joy, but instead I grab another leaf because I remember how someone somewhere told me I look silly when I dance.  Another call, another leaf.  The weight and the toil of trying to cover up what is already known is choking the life out of me.

Yes, Adam and I are very much alike.  A thought pops into my head.  I wonder why the one who walked in the cool of the day with his Creator, didn’t simply just drop the leaves and man-up. 

I hear the Voice say quietly, “Hmmm, yes, why don’t you?”

And there it is.  All of this…stuff.  I understand.  So simple I want to smack myself in the forehead.

Let go of the leaves.

 The Lord has been gently trying to pry my fingers loose not to expose my shame to His derision and disgust, but to His grace and mercy so that it can be cleansed away.  As I stand before Him covered only in the assurance of Christ, fear leaves me.  While I’m not proud of my sin, I’m no longer afraid to admit that it is my fault and mine alone. 

Being honest with myself and with my Lord gives me the strength to turn away from attitudes and habits I was enslaved to, because I understand now that if I am the one at fault, then my past does not hold power over me any longer and through Christ…I can change.

I unclench my hands and all my excuses wither and blow away in the cleansing wind of the Holy Spirit.

“This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we  lie and do not practice the truth;  but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”  1 John 1:5-9 NASB